The preamplifier is also assembled on germanium transistors, complete with a balanced signal path and input and output transformers. Individual decoupling buffers are provided for each input (five linear, including 3 Unbalanced on RCA and 2 Balanced XLR). There are three outputs — two on the XLR and one on the RCA. Thus, the preamp features eight expensive broadband transformers for converting a circuit from unbalanced to balanced and vice versa. The volume control is built on relays and Tantalum resistors. An output impedance on the order of 12 ohms makes the preamplifier insensitive to interference from the quality and length of the cables running to the monoblocks. For listening, our entire system was switched to balanced cables, which are also produced by Syomin's laboratory.
The speaker systems used are ProAc Carbon Pro 8, and, as a source, we also used the Studer A820 Studio master recorder, which was specially brought to the Nota Plus salon for the test. All phonograms (copies from master tapes) were recorded on two tracks at the rate of 38 cm/s.
«The feeling of colossal, unrestrained freedom of musical reproduction with a typical "germanium", almost lamp-like character is, to tell you, quite overwhelming.»
We set out to experience an unlimited sound dynamics, and we heard it in all its glory. The feeling of colossal, unrestrained freedom of musical reproduction with a typical "germanium", almost lamp-like character is, to tell you, quite overwhelming. I do listen to 2 X 15w germanium amplifier stereo at home, and here too, I'm listening to the same sound, albeit shrank into the chair feeling the sound pressure. By "the same sound," I mean soft in the upper range, rich in the lower range and with a sparkling clean, very comfortable middle. A pair of Black Knight Reference amps delivers completely unrealistic attacks, instantly reacting to sharp changes in the punchy rhythm and, most importantly, making the acoustics do the same. Never heard these multipath ProAkis sang so beautifully and smoothly. There is absolutely no hint of synthetics in the sound — every instrument, every sound is transmitted with a natural spectral content. At first it seems that the familiar soundtracks have become more nuanced, but in fact they are just transmitted somehow more clearly. And at the same time, musically, without being mechanical. I should add that it's nice and elegant, with a unique charm that persists even at such volumes, when the acoustically treated room starts to respond.